Hurricanes @ Kings Recap: Quick, Toffoli Carry Kings To Fourth Straight
The Kings weather Carolina's pressure (insert weather analogy here) and are opportunistic in a 3-0 victory.
The Los Angeles Kings could be forgiven for looking a little sluggish the night after a win in San Jose. Fortunately, at least two of their guys weren't the least bit sluggish, and it was enough to earn a 3-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.
The focus after this game was on Jonathan Quick, and rightfully so. For the fifth time in his career, Quick stopped at least 40 shots without letting one past him. The last time he did so was on October 16 of last year, during a stretch when Quick was one of only two reasons that the Kings were thriving instead of diving down the standings. After two really poor efforts to start off the season, Quick has found that same form.
Last year, the other reason the Kings were thriving in October (despite horrid possession numbers and visible struggles) was their second line of Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, and Tanner Pearson. And guess who came up big again on Friday? One of the cogs in that machine has changed, though, and Milan Lucic has started to produce. After tipping in his first goal as a King on Thursday, Lucic showed that he can move a little bit! A back-and-forth-and-back-again with Toffoli put the game on ice, providing the final 3-0 margin.
Toffoli also had the game's first goal, on a power play, on a well-placed slapshot. (Lucic had an assist on that one, by way of the puck banking off him.) If the Toffoli goal descriptions are starting to get a little ho-hum, well, it's his fault for scoring so much. Toffoli is now in a four-way tie for the NHL goal lead with Jamie Benn, Max Pacioretty, and Zach Parise, all of whom are generally considered their team's top forwards. Toffoli's making that same argument, at least on the offensive side of things.
Anze Kopitar, of course, still holds that particular title, and he scored in between Toffoli's tallies thanks to a truly confusing hand pass by Carolina d-man Ron Hainsey. With the Kings having already allowed 34 shots on goal, it was an absolutely crucial insurance goal. The top non-Toffoli forward in our player voting last night, though, was Trevor Lewis! In spite of taking a penalty! Credit three more minutes of penalty killing time, some nifty defensive work, and his team-leading ten successful zone entries. His line (with Tanner Pearson and Nick Shore) hasn't started scoring yet, but with the top six seemingly set, they're doing well enough to keep their roles.
The Kings head up to Edmonton next, to take on a squad that's starting to click... on offense, at least.